While recently in Florida for Savannah’s Make-a-Wish wish, my husband, two children and I came across this beast of a ride called the Rock'n Roll Coaster at the MGM Studios theme park. If you haven't had the pleasure of riding this ride for yourself, allow me to describe the experience. You go from 0 to 60mph in 2.4 seconds. At 60mph the ride goes upside-down three times and boasts 4-G turns around every loop. The entire ride is underground and completely engulfed in darkness. All that you can see are florescent colored signs that go whizzing by. The one I happened to catch said 'left turn up ahead' - then we went right. And just to make things a little more interesting, throughout the entire ride, blaring out of a speaker no more than six inches from your head, is a very loud, totally unintelligible Aerosmith song. I remember thinking that if this ride isn't an analogy for what life has been like since our daughter Savannah was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy, then I don't know what is!
Inevitably, two sets of eyes looked up at me and said, "Can we please go on that guitar ride mommy?" Of course, I had no idea what to expect since the entire thing was inside and I couldn't see it. But we got in line anyway and my son and I rode first to gauge the appropriateness of the ride for my seizure-inclined daughter. Not surprisingly, my suspicions were confirmed that this ride had ascended from the abyss and was certainly not for the meek and mild. A resounding "definitely not!" came to mind as I dizzily exited the ride. But a pair of baby-brown eyes, and a sweet little, "pwease mommy" met me at the exit. And my "definitely not!" faded into a "I don't think it's such a good idea honey."
Here I was, grappling in that oh so familiar place that I found myself in each day with this little one. How much should I allow her to do, and what do a limit because of her seizures? I want to let her have a life, but it's so hard not to be overprotective when you know that a seizure can (and will) strike at any minute. Reluctantly, I fastened on my daughter's seizure helmet and reminded her to hold on tight. Her eyes beamed, and off she ran toward the car with Daddy in tow. At a distance I watched as she climbed in the car, pulled down her restraint, then took off her helmet and handed it to her father. Aaugh! What was she doing?!? What was Daddy doing?!? The car pulled away before I could react, and after what seemed like an eternity, it pulled back into the station. There was my little Savannah, hair all wind-blown, cheeks flush, and a huge smile across her face. Astonishingly, as evidenced by my husband and the pictures they take of you mid-ride, she rode the entire ride with no helmet, her arms firmly over her head (in Daddy’s arms of course) and with an ear-to-ear grin. I remember thinking, if that isn't a life lesson on not limiting her experiences too much then I don't know what is. She's definitely not the meek and mild I had her cracked up to be. She even wanted to go again.